Left in the dark

By: Carrie Ratkevich, Staff Reporter

 Safety walk shines light on problem areas

 Despite having low attendance, the Executive Council of Students’ safety walk identified several major concerns regarding the safety and welfare of students, said council President Cesar Silva.

Paired with campus secu­rity guards, students walked main campus in the late eve­ning and identified several areas without proper lighting, lights that did not work, and also dis­covered that 12 of the 40 code blue emergency boxes were either out of order or not work­ing properly, said. The outdoor lights near Janet Stromberg Hall, Smith Brasher Hall, the por­tables by Ted Chavez and Ken Chappy halls, the BMX parking lot and all around the adminis­trative buildings were not work­ing, said Silva.

The pedestal lights along the walkway between Janet Stromberg and the science lab building were not only out, but did not have proper covering, said Levi Turner, president of Phi Theta Kappa, who partici­pated in the walk.

“Students could stick their hands in and get stuck or shocked,” said Turner.

The Ted Chavez por­tables had some pretty dark spots also, said Turner. One spot in the parking lot near the dumpsters was almost completely dark, he said.

“Someone could easily hide there and mug someone,” said Turner.

None of the code blue emergency phones in the Ted Chavez area worked either, said Turner.

“The two in the Ted Chavez lot both had out of order covers on them, and you could barely hear the dispatcher at the one between Max Salazar and Ted Chavez,” said Turner.

The parking lot near the A, E, and S buildings, known as the Central lot, has no emergency center of the lot, said council Vice President Stephen Martos.

“That light is semi-sufficient for the parking lot, but near the buildings it’s really dark,” he said.

The safety walk, which took place Friday night, was open to all students. Only five participated, including the members of the council, said Silva.

The number of emergency boxes not working may also be incorrect said Martos. With only a two hour window to explore such a large campus, boxes in the Smith Brasher auxiliary parking lot were not tested, said Martos.

“We might have been able to test them all if we had had more people,” said Martos.

In a meeting prior to the walk, Director of Security Ernie Chavez said some code blue phones were in storage and security was working to change out the broken ones. Chavez did not give a time frame for the change.

“The safety walk is a great idea. It helps us to figure out problems we can fix, and it is nice to show the governing board how our students are contribut­ing,” said Chavez.

Several other safety concerns were also identified such as broken conduit and some crumbling side­walks, said Silva.

Two of the Ted Chavez portable classrooms had been left unlocked, including the Criminal Investigations Lab, said Turner.

“One of the doors was broken and had to be messed with to close it,” said Turner.

Silva said he wished to thank the students in the Culinary Arts program who provided snacks for the walk par­ticipants, and to Ecco Coffee who donated drinks.

“My hope is that during our next walk, which should be in the summer, we will have a greater number of par­ticipants and some of the discrepancies we found will have been attended to,” said Silva.

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